Christopher Landoni, Grotto, 2000
Grotto (2000) is a video work made using home camera equipment that edits together a series of short vignettes. Each is titled with a bold, uppercase intertitle of white text on black. The first reads ‘CHRIS IS IN DEHLI AND WE HAVE HEARD THAT HE IS IN A BAD WAY’, the camera then shows reportage footage of young men, seemingly high, struggling to walk, occasionally laying down, and embracing one another. The footage and audio have been slowed to emphasize the spacey effects of ketamine that the protagonists are themselves feeling. Other short vignettes include ‘THE KITCHEN TABLE’, ‘MACHAVELLI’, ‘DENIS – ROOM 6 UNION HOTEL 16TH AND MISSION’, ‘A SUNNY AFTERNOON’, ‘COLDBLOOD’ and ‘ROCK STAR’ among others. In each, shot at various undisclosed locations in the United States and elsewhere, we hear intimate testimony of police violence, someone touting for sex work, people describing the struggles they face acquiring medication and healthcare. We watch people inject heroine and hear and see with an unflinching intimacy the trials and tribulations of ordinary people and their immediate circumstances. These video diaries are portraits that do not cast judgement on the individuals depicted but rather the structures they inhabit and are at the mercy of. Without hiding behind slick production, editing or even a sense of directorial authorship or filmic construction, these rough and at times difficult pieces of gonzo documentary tell us something about humanity and what it endures under inequitable social conditions. It does this without casting judgement or taking a particular position, which perhaps leaves the viewer with the uncomfortable realisation that they must examine their own prejudices instead.
|Duration||38 minutes 1 second|